Vegetarian vs. Omnivore

This is tongue-in-cheek y’all!

I did a Warrior Dash with friends a few years ago. A carload of us went to a far suburb of Chicago to do this obstacle course race. It was a fun, muddy time with lots of laughing.

Afterward, we wandered to a breakfast place that serves waffles and all things wonderful. But what was most amazing that all my friends at this event were vegetarian or vegan or other iteration of that ilk. I was the only omnivore.

As it happens when you are in the minority, they talk about things like you aren’t even there. They were joking about how non-vegetarians think they eat. They talked about how people ask how they get their protein. They were laughing about what omnivores say about veggie-people’s hair falling out and other problems. And about how we only think they eat salads.

The problem is, when veggie people talk about omnivores, they talk about us like we are only carnivores. I think that would be ok, but its not true of most of our diets. The same when people talk about Paleo or Keto or Primal. Yes, we may decry carbs in the form of sugars, pastas, and flours. Yes, we are against what grains do to our bodies. But if we’re honest, we still love cookies, cakes, and pastas; we just know they are not good for us.

The real truth is that omnivores who aspire to Paleo/Keto or other similar ideal will fill up our plates first with colorful veggies. Our meats and fats are always paired with the perfect veggies. We may snack on veggies too (if we don’t have a beef jerky stick around, haha!) Nutritious and low glycemic is what we love the most. We love our veggies. But we love other stuff too.

We all find the niche that works for us. I had an awesome discussion with a veggie friend of mine. We talked about a lot of things I’ve already mentioned. We talked about ethical treatment of animals, but also about harmful pesticides that are nearly unavoidable with veggie crops.

With COVID, the store shelves are fairly bare with products. Knowing what I know about how unregulated certification is for organic products, I usually avoid those products. A farmer can charge 3-5 times as much if they have the organic label, when I know that those products have not been tested by any authority. So with COVID, this idea has been even more pronounced. I had to buy a few things that were organic even though it was much more costly. When we get back to free choices and stocked shelves, I’ll go back to my ways. The only way to really know the source and quality of what we eat is to grow food ourselves. Second best is to know an ethical (truthful) farmer and actually visit their farm. The reality is people have to pay their bills. For some, if a pest invades a crop and can potentially devastate it, they’ll probably spray it with a pesticide to save the crop. Otherwise, its a very expensive loss of seed, fuel for tillage and planting, and fertilizer. It would be difficult to let all that go to waste. Then to take an additional loss in revenue by not providing a certified organic crop knowing they can charge more for it. Some may even still stay its organic to get that price point. So, if you can, grow food yourself. Grow animals too if that’s what you do.

I hope you are staying well. Whatever food choices you have, be smart about it all. If you follow one diet, know how to balance it to get essential vitamins and macronutrients. Remember that healthy food is always the best first choice. Supplements, juices only, or other magic elixirs are not the way to go. Then, if you need to supplement after that, then do so. To me the key elements in order of priority are:

1. Get enough sleep. If you don’t sleep, all the rest of this is for naught.
2. Drink water. Coffee, tea, soda, and even alcoholic drinks are OK if in moderation and if you’re countering their diuretic effects with more clear, unadulterated fluids. Our bodies are composed of mostly water and every cell depends on full hydration to function properly.
3. Nutrition. Always healthy food first. Shop the outer aisles and not the processed foods in the middle.
4. Sun light. The sun is good for many things. It sets the stage for our circadian rhythms. It regulates serotonin, melanin, testosterone, and cortisol. It also produces more Vitamin D than anything we could possibly eat or supplement. On the standard American diet, we get about 300 IUs of Vitamin D. A glass of milk has about 100 IU. Whereas, we get 1,000 IUs from a good dose of sunlight. The good thing is, we store Vitamin D. Enough exposure through Summer will get us all the way through Winter.
5. Exercise. Our lymphatic system doesn’t have its own circulatory system like we have for blood. You have to move or manually massage lymph to get it to move. Lymph carries most of our immune products as well as bad toxins. Breathing, pumping blood, and lengthening muscles is key to good health.
6. These latter aspects are the links to good mental health. We could do items 1 through 5, but if we have stress, it all goes to pot. Working stressful jobs and living in a toxic relationship counters all the good things you could do. Yoga, tai-chi, physical activity, meditation, and connecting spiritually are all ways to de-stress.

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